D68, 17 March 2016
Conrad: Rivers and sleet
We had a wet and windy night in the tent with lots of condensation… Not much sleep. We still managed a 0800 start and decided to back- track the outdoor students tracks as that was a known quantity.
The weather was appalling with 45 km winds and sleet; however steady progress was made despite meandering around numerous stretches of open water. After 4 hours we came to the stream where the students and instructors had looked for a crossing for 3 hours and then eventually chopped down 2 pine trees with a knife! The crossing of 2.5 metres looked daunting with swift flowing water. I went across first and dragged my sled across the trees with a rope held by Ian attached to the rear of my sled.For the second crossing I attached a safety rope to Ian and made a snow bucket belay and hoped Ian didn’t fall off the logs, which of course he didn’t.
We then lost the tracks and wasted half an hour trying to locate them again. We were cold and wet through.
We went back to basic navigation and eventually went over the final ridge, only to relocate the ski tracks that led down to a snow bridge over the final stream.
It’s difficult to describe how the last 4 warm days have completely made the landscape so desperately difficult to cross with so many impassable streams and the lakes completely flooded with deep water on top of ice.
We can only hope for colder weather.